Portland Mellow

One thing I really enjoy about working remotely as an editor is mobility, especially since moving back to my favorite city–Portland, Oregon–late last summer. At least once a week, I make an excursion to the UPS Store on Third Avenue to mail my decisions on the latest week’s submissions back to the home office. On good days, a warm breeze blows the smell of frying pakoras from the Indian food stand, fewer than three homeless people ask if I can spare any change, and all three say “God bless you” when I shake my head “No”.

I appreciate the stark contrast between Portland’s street people and those I used to encounter in New York City. I still haven’t gotten over the guy in NYC who stuck up his nose when I offered him a dollar. “Are you kidding? This is New York City!” he said, shaking his head and turning his back on me. On my last trip through downtown Portland, a guy asked me for six cents. Six cents! Maybe it’s the recession, but I like to think that Portland’s street people just have that mellow west coast vibe.

Today’s writing challenge: Write a description, poem, or story that shows how the street people (or others) in your city or town reflect the local vibe.


About kimgriswell

I'm an author, an editor, a writing coach, and a workshop leader. I spend my days asking questions and looking (or listening) for answers, and thinking up ideas for new stories to write for my favorite audience: kids! I guess I'm just about as curious as Rufus Leroy Williams III, the intrepid pink hero of my picture book series from Sterling Publishing, is persistent. Did you know that in 5000 B.C. people blamed 'tooth worms' for their cavities? Neither did I until I developed THE HAUNTED OUTHOUSE for the Bathroom Reader's Institute. Turns out, ancient dentists filled the wormholes with metals like gold or silver. Except the Aztecs. They used a mix of iron, water, and belly-button lint. As you'll discover by reading RUFUS GOES TO SCHOOL, RUFUS GOES TO SEA, and RUFUS BLASTS OFF! I believe that reading opens up worlds for young people. Books did that for me, and I hope my books will do the same for today's kids.
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